Crime-Violence on Indian Reservations

Edited by Lewis Loflin

The New York Times produced two articles in February 2012 on crime and violence on Indian reservations. Many of the 310 reservations are another example of total social breakdown. The press cries racism they ignore reality: it's the culture and it must change.

Of the 310 Indian reservations in America many are simply third-world hell holes. Murder, sexual abuse, and assault are as bad as the worse inner-city slum. According to the Justice Department, "American Indian women are 10 times as likely to be murdered than other Americans. They are raped or sexually assaulted at a rate four times the national average, with more than one in three having either been raped or experienced an attempted rape."

In addition two-thirds of Indian children are born to single mothers. Instead of encouraging cultural assimilation and helping Indians leave the reservations with proper skills training and education, we celebrate "diversity" and keep them "in their place." That "place" includes their inability to enforce their own laws to protect the members of their community.

While an indifferent and politically correct Federal Government claims that as their jurisdiction, like the immigration laws they simply refuse to do their job. The Indians themselves are very limited in what they can do and can't sentence someone for more than say 1 year.

In other cases the NYT laments efforts to clean out crime and lawlessness in minority communities as "racism", but here whine at the lack of law enforcement and a 'second class' legal system. The federal government, blinded by political correctness, refuses to consider the internal cultural and social reasons for this behavior. Not only do they refuse to enforce the laws to control this level of crime, it seems they fear doing so because filling prisons with Indian criminals violates the doctrine of political correctness.

This leaves the Indians on a helpless position. Not only does the Federal government refuse to enforce the law, they won't even say why. And the states in which the reservations are located by law can't intervene. The choice seems to be dissolve these reservations or give them real power to sink or swim on their own. It's not right to leave them trapped and dependant on the whims of indifferent white bean-counters throttled by political correctness.

Just how bad is it?

Federal prosecutors in 2011 declined to file charges in 52 percent of cases involving the most serious crimes (murder, rape, assault) committed on Indian reservations...The government did not pursue rape charges on reservations 65 percent of the time last year and rejected 61 percent of cases involving charges of sexual abuse of children...Once federal prosecutors do decline a case, they seldom hand over evidence to tribal courts...

In addition the bean-counters work cases often hundreds of miles away from the reservation itself, have no real knowledge of the reservation, or the people involved. (They're knowledge is limited by the diversity hype they were fed in college.) As for not turning over evidence, they claim the usual "ongoing investigation" that's often simply posturing and claim they fear witnesses may testify twice. The Indians themselves claim "victims do not testify at all."

This one case is a typical example:

Thomas W. Weissmuller, a former chief judge for several tribes, said he presided over a trial on the Swinomish Reservation in Washington State in which a 31-year-old man was accused of pouring root beer schnapps into the root beer of a girl who had recently turned 13. The girl, unaware of the alcohol, drank the soda and passed out. The man covered her face with her own clothes and raped her. spite of a DNA match and statements from two relatives who interrupted the attack, federal prosecutors did not file charges. Though convicted of rape in tribal court, the man served only one year in jail - the maximum penalty in the tribal system at the time. The Justice Department declined to discuss the case. "I don't know why it wasn't prosecuted federally," Mr. Weissmuller said. "I believe it was a very clear-cut case."

The Obama administration attempted to curb the reservation crime wave with something nicknamed "the surge." Modeled after Iraq;

"Hundreds of officers from the National Park Service and other federal agencies swarmed the reservations, and crime was reduced at three of the four reservations - including a 68 percent decline at Mescalero Apache in New Mexico ... (at the) Wind River (Wyoming reservation) ... violent crime there increased by 7 percent during the surge..."

While the number of officers rose to 37 from 6, violent crime still raged out of control. That included the "murder of a 13-year-old girl who had been missing for four days and whose partly clothed body was found under a tree, and the killing of a 25-year-old man, who the police say had been beaten with a child's car seat and a dumbbell by two friends after a sexual encounter."

But true to form the NYT notes,

"Crime may be Wind River's most pressing problem, but it has plenty of company. Life, even by the grim standards of the typical American Indian reservation, is as bleak and punishing as that of any developing country. On average, residents can expect to live 49 years, 20 years fewer than in Iraq. Unemployment, estimated to be higher than 80 percent, is on a par with Zimbabwe's, and is approaching the proportionate inverse of Wyoming's 6 percent jobless rate...."

The dropout rate is double the Wyoming average (40 percent) while suicide, child abuse, teen pregnancy, etc. are exploding. To quote, "alcoholism and drug abuse are so common that residents say positive urinalysis results on drug tests are what bar many from working at the state's booming oil fields."

Yes we hear about the usual social ills, but what is causing them? The NYT goes on to whine about hydraulic fracturing causing people to boil drinking water, a 1864 massacre, and assorted left-wing pet-peeves to divert from the real issue: it's culture. They do attribute the rise in violent crime to more people reporting it, so we must assume it was under reported in the past? What the heck does 1864 have to with 2012?

The Bureau of Indian Affairs controls the Wind River Police Department. One particular case stands out:

...the death of Marisa Spoonhunter, an eighth grader at Wyoming Indian Middle School who was killed in April 2010. Her parents recognized her body by the coat they had recently bought for her in Denver.

Marisa's 21-year-old brother, Robert, and 19-year-old step cousin were arrested and convicted. The three had been drinking in a trailer home when Robert Spoonhunter said he blacked out and awoke to find his sister and cousin having sex. An enraged Mr. Spoonhunter said he choked his sister for about 20 seconds before flinging her away. Marisa's head hit a weight-lifting bench.

The men fastened a rope to her ankles and dragged her under a tree. Before resuming drinking, they put her clothes in a burn barrel. At the sentencing, Vern Spoonhunter, the father of Marisa and Robert, said Marisa had been in the third generation of Spoonhunters to be murdered at Wind River - meeting the same end as his father and brother.

So Marisa's was beaten to death by her brother was over global warming and hyrofracking? This is a multi-generational problem, not something that came up just last week. Decades of welfare and liberal social engineering have clearly failed these people and it's time to dump political correctness and try something new.

Defining the Problem

I don't pretend to be an expert on Indian reservations, but it seems we have many of the same problems (not as bad but going that way) out of whites here in Appalachia.

I come from an alcoholic family and grew up on welfare. The drunkenness of my father/aunts/uncles had nothing to do with the Irish Potato Famine or any other historical wrong. The six of us that grew up in that hell got lucky. We still had one functional parent (my mother) and members of the community did intervene in a number of ways. Churches and the Lions Club helped with everything from food baskets, shoes, and eye glasses. But most important others provided mentoring and something to hold on to be it a part time job or a safe place to go.

But in a family with two dysfunctional parents in a community full of broken families with similar problems, the outlook is grim. Welfare only sustains the problem and never addresses the problem in itself, often feeding into the next generation. Without something to work for or a place to go I know very well that idleness and boredom is misery. In addition, having to deal with family infighting and abuse can make anything, even suicide, a welcome alternative.

The greatest danger sign in a community is the level of unwed mothers. Blacks, Indians, and Hispanics all exceed 50 percent when the tipping point for community breakdown is around 35 percent. (Daniel Patrick Moynihan) Whites are not far behind at 29 percent, heavily concentrated among lower-class whites. Single parent homes are the primary cause of child poverty in Virginia. It isn't poverty/income nearly as much as family structure.

Some Common Sense Solutions

My suggestions are going to outrage the advocates of victimization and political correctness, so be it. Humans have varying innate tendencies towards self-destructive behavior that just can't be ignored regardless of Humanist' dogma that says otherwise. If they can't control themselves, then society must intervene.

First, I'd get rid of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This incompetent agency is a failure and has long outlived its usefulness. Typical is its director Larry EchoHawk (born August 2, 1948 in Cody, Wyoming). Mr. Echohawk is an attorney and legal scholar. Since 1973 he has either been in college, teaching college, or a politician. Has he ever even lived on reservation? He's a Federal bean counter living in affluent Alexandria, Virginia.

Either dissolve these reservations and divide the land among the families, or give them true sovereignly over their territory. If dissolved they simply become part of the state in which they reside. It's time Indians are seen as individual people and not a collective "tribe."

Second, restore family stability at all costs. There is no single quick-fix for the problem of broken families which I see as the root of most social problems. Instead of awarding more welfare to the next unwed mother or funding some silly social study at Yale on why kids get pregnant, let's do direct intervention into dysfunctional families. That means dealing with unwed teenage mothers just to get some handle on the problem.

No more tolerance of teen sex. It's statutory rape for children to be sexually involved regardless of age of partner or consent. That means legal prosecution and jail even if consensual. (In the case of both being kids work out some way to clear their record after a period of clean behavior.)

Prosecution of parents for child abuse and neglect if they fail to control their children. That means they know where they are and fulfill their duty as a parent. If the children can't be controlled because the mother is single, kid is violent, etc. then there needs to be direct help from police and community services. If junior or missy don't want to follow the rules, perhaps weekends in solitary confinement at a juvenile facility can get through to them.

They might even learn to read if all they have to do is stare at a wall. They must learn at a young age what is and isn't tolerated and not when she pops kid three at 18 and he kills someone at 21.

Institute a curfew for those under 18. Unless with an adult guardian or the tribal police have been notified otherwise, home by no later than 7:00 PM.

Ban all alcohol from reservations. I don't know if they can do it today, but possession should be treated as a crime. This stuff is poison to Indians. No tolerance of drug and alcohol abuse in any home with children. This again constitutes child abuse/neglect and should be treated as such.

Any single mother that is on any form of public assistance is to be on mandatory birth control. Sorry no more unloved children by uncaring, stupid people. By the way, prosecute daddy until he coughs up some child support. No more live-in boyfriends while on welfare; get married or get out.

House them in tent cities. The cost of regular jails is simply too high.

What to do with all the jailed idiots? Put them on public works projects on the reservation. I don't have a problem with correctional labor camps doing public service. Digging water lines to homes without running water, repairing roads, buildings, etc. on the reservation will be a direct benefit to the community. (There must not be any private gain or this becomes a business.)

As mach as possible we want these people to serve the community, curb their self-destructive habits, and give them every opportunity to clear their records. I also mean mandatory drug and alcohol treatment while confined.

If one can't find a job on a reservation, then help them relocate elsewhere to find work. If millions of illegal alien Hispanics can go through the hardships they do to get a job, then why can't reservation Indians, inner city blacks, or whites in Appalachia simply relocate and get one? Indians are American citizens and can go anywhere I can. There's always a way to make money doing something.

The New York Times itself pointed out jobs are waiting in the booming gas fields out West if Indians could pass a drug test, they'd have jobs tomorrow.

What we need is real help directly to the family be it changing bad behavior or helping them get a clean, safe place to live. I'm more than willing to pay higher taxes if I know something worthwhile is being done.

If you are an Indian (spare the "Native American" PC crap, I'm a native American just like you) I'll tell you now waiting for a bunch white bean-counters relying on silly social studies theories are not going to save you. It doesn't work in Appalachia and it won't work at Wind River or anywhere else. The people of these communities must take control of their lives to become dignified human beings, else they risk being a perpetual welfare basket case.


February 20, 2012
Higher Crime, Fewer Charges on Indian Land

February 2, 2012
Brutal Crimes Grip an Indian Reservation


Lewis Frog

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